Advice · Advice for Women · Andshelaughs · Anxiety & Depression · Art of LIving · bloggers · Blogging · Coffee Talk · Creative Life · Creativity · Drag Queens · Empty Nest · Fearless Living · Feminist Culture · Feminists · Friends · Friendship · Friendships · Girl Stuff · Gracious Living · Happiness · Happiness Project · Happy New Year · Healthy Living · Inspiration · Joyful Living · Life · Life Lessons · Lifestyle · Living · Meaning of Life · Midlife · Mindful Living · Monday Inspiration · Monday Motivation · Motivation · Motivation Advice · New Year's Resolutions · Self-Care · Self-Help · Simple Living · Spiritual Living · The Art of Living · Uncategorized · Whole Living · Writing Inspiration

Is It Over Yet?

1cfe1940-b7ec-42e6-b40f-57b8c62d4620
“If you’re brave enough to say good-bye, life will reward you with a new hello.” ~Paolo Coelho~

 

I don’t know why, but this holiday season seems like it’s never going to end. Maybe it’s because I’ve had to work through it? Maybe it’s because I kick it off so damn early, and this year I was spoiled by being NYC in December? Maybe because I’m eager to step into a fresh new year and play with some of the options available to me?

I think it’s that one. The last one. 2019 was somewhat of a slog. 2020 feels like it’s ready to polish off the rough bits and end with something shiny and new.

Parts of me feel dead, which make the joyful and silly parts seem all that more delightful.  I feel like it’s time to pull my middle-aged ass out of the rut of what-I-should-be-doing-and-thinking-and-spending-my-time-on and getting it on track with my natural chutzpah.

I was gifted many books this Christmas, and among them was a copy of Grit.  By a person who scored about 30% on the Grit scale. I scored a 95.

It was a classic case of here-I-bought-this-because-I-want-it, not, this-made-me-think-of-you. I had read about 50 pages of anecdotes before deciding it was time to put away the Christmas decorations.  The giver of the book tossed a hissy fit over having to actually get the Christmas tree back in the box, and marched out in a huff. I was the one who wrestled with the picky branches until they succumbed to the original packaging and was set neatly aside until next year. Don’t talk to me about grit.

As a matter of fact, don’t talk to me at all if it’s going to involve anything related to what I should be ; doing, eating, or spending my energy on. Only talk to me if it’s necessary, or you’re telling me something soul-deep, or funny, or charming. Talk to me if you’re excited about learning something new, or if you need someone to listen, or you’re confessing some delicious sin.

In 2019 I had way, way too many conversations about all of the should’s.  I had way too many days that felt like I was going through the motions and not really alive.

In honour of a new decade, I closed the cover on Grit, and cracked open a copy of Kissing the Limitless that has been sitting on my writing desk for two years. Two. YEARS.

I booked a drag brunch with some gal pals, sipped my bottomless-mimosa and watched those beautiful women who have worked so hard at their craft, and their life, come out and entertain a crowd of people hungry to feel something. Anything.

The end of a year always lends itself to some self-review.  This year I’m asking; what parts of my self have been suffocated this year? How did it happen, and why?

By 2020 I will have answered those questions, which leaves the rest of the year to be fabulous, to indulge in all of the delights that make me feel alive emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Buckle up.

Andshelaughs · Art of LIving · Business · Business Advice · Business Careers · Canadian Business · Career · Career Advice · Careers · Fearless Living · Healthy Living · insight · Life · Life Lessons · Lifestyle · Living · Meaning of Life · Middle Age · Midlife · Mindful Living · Self-Care · Simple Living · Social Commentary · Society · Spiritual Living · Technology · The Art of Living · Uncategorized · Whole Living

Who Said Yes?

dogslaveHead on over to @andshelaughs1 on Twitter.

I’ve retweeted a horrifying clip from the Economist. I love the Economist by the way, it’s right up there with Hallmark Christmas movies and making it to yoga class three times a week.

In my last post, I wrote to you about burnout and wished you well on your journey out of hell.  Let me assure you, that it could be worse. You could be forced to wear a device developed by Humanyze that tracks your every move and word at work. Taking it one step further, some companies are actually microchipping their employees.

Which begs the questions;

1)What fuck-wit actually thought this was a good idea?

2)What spineless turd first agreed to wear this, thus setting a precedent for all of the poor suckers who came after?

WALK UP A set of steep stairs next to a vegan Chinese restaurant in Palo Alto in Silicon Valley, and you will see the future of work, or at least one version of it. This is the local office of Humanyze, a firm that provides “people analytics”. It counts several Fortune 500 companies among its clients (though it will not say who they are). Its employees mill around an office full of sunlight and computers, as well as beacons that track their location and interactions. Everyone is wearing an ID badge the size of a credit card and the depth of a book of matches. It contains a microphone that picks up whether they are talking to one another; Bluetooth and infrared sensors to monitor where they are; and an accelerometer to record when they move.

“Every aspect of business is becoming more data-driven. There’s no reason the people side of business shouldn’t be the same,” says Ben Waber, Humanyze’s boss. The company’s staff are treated much the same way as its clients. Data from their employees’ badges are integrated with information from their e-mail and calendars to form a full picture of how they spend their time at work. Clients get to see only team-level statistics, but Humanyze’s employees can look at their own data, which include metrics such as time spent with people of the same sex, activity levels and the ratio of time spent speaking versus listening.

Taken from the Economist March 28, 2018

 

In the hands of people who stand to make the almighty dollar from tracking our every move, these devices obviously prove that hell, indeed, exists right here on earth.

As an alternative to wearing a tracking device like a dog, I suggest you take to the streets and protest our society’s obsession with automating our souls.  Seriously, the French know how to make change, and they do it loud and proud on the pavement that their taxes paid for.

microchipped

We live in a country lauded by the rest of the planet as being fabulous, yet we are apathetic to a fault. I’m sorry we’re sorry about everything. Mostly I’m sorry that it’s gotten so bad that keeping a roof over our heads stresses us out to the point of making us sick, destroying families, and leaves us feeling powerless.

Please promise me dear readers, that if you are ever asked to wear a device around your neck or to be microchipped by your employer that you not-so-politely decline. Life is too short to be treated like a commodity. I don’t care how much you need the money, freedom is priceless, humanity is sacred, and bullshit tracking devices are cluttering the planet with waste. 

 

 

 

 

Advice for Women · Andshelaughs · Business Careers · Career · Career Advice · Careers · Christmas · Christmas Letters · Inspiration · Meaning of Christmas · Middle Age · Midlife · Monday Inspiration · Monday Motivation · Motivation · Motivation Advice · Professional Women · Religion and Spirituality · Self-Care · Self-Help · Uncategorized · Women's Issues · Working Women

Christmas Is: Time to Cheer for Change

So I’ve been writing a lot about Christmas. I love Christmas, it’s easy to get lost in the merriment and let’s face it, I’m easily distracted by shiny things.

What I haven’t been writing about is how burnt out I am. How I have let things go so long, that now it feels like it’s gone to shit. And I don’t have the inclination to fix it, fake it, or take it.

I’m not a sissy at burn out. I’ve been there before, but now I’m too old for it. I feel like a toddler with my chubby arms crossed against my old-lady chest, lip stuck out, emphatically letting the world know that, ” I don’t have to.” It’s not cute, and it’s not pretty, but it is what it is.

I may look sad, but trust me, I’m pissed. And I will not tolerate anyone’s shit. Not for love or money.

I’m not a nervous breakdown burn-out. I’m a pissed off, middle-aged burn out.  And when I’m pissed off I cry. Then I get frustrated with myself, and I get angrier, and then I cry.

I constantly tell myself everything is rosy when it’s not. I can do it for years. It’s a long-standing type of self-preservation that only people who come from a history of abuse will understand. Take it from me, you know when it’s time to move on from any kind of toxic relationship; career, friendship, romance, family…whatever.

If your burnout is from work, try to reframe it until you can leave. Through coaching and experience, I have learned that sometimes work can give us what we need ( a pay cheque) until we find a pay cheque that stresses us less. Nothing lasts forever. And that’s a good thing.

Recently I was speaking to one of my friends who has her own counselling practice. She said that people come to her on a regular basis terrified of crying at work, totally victims of harassment and workplace bullying, the ugly step-daughters of corporate greed. I do believe that working until we have nothing left to give is one of the great social diseases of our time.  It eats away at the good things in our life, until it’s the only thing we can think about. Not cool. Not sexy. Not impossible to extricate yourself from either.

I have been very lucky in the past to have meaningful work that didn’t feel so much like work.  And that gives me hope, and I hope it gives you hope as well.

The end of the year often lends itself to retrospection, which goes hand in hand with setting goals for the new year. What was great about my year? What wasn’t so great? How am I going to change that? How am I going to make my life better?

stuckOnce upon a time my Mumster told me to go home and just look at job sites. She said knowing that so many opportunities are out there would cheer me up. She’s right. It was the same feeling I had as I drove through the city streets from our island airport. I looked up at all of the tall buildings, at all the lights, the ads, and I knew that there was opportunity if only I got out and let the world know that I was interested.

If you’re feeling burnt out, I hope you don’t get comfy in the cushy sofa of despair.  I hope that you set coffee dates with people who are doing what you want to do and are open to sharing their experience.  Spend time with people who love you and want you to be successful. Start small if you have to. Offer your services on fiverr, take free classes at the local library, be curious.

There are plenty of resources out there for you. My sweetie loves,  What Colour is Your Parachute, but I prefer Careergasm. I’m a fan of Sara Smeaton and think that in 2020 I need to spend more time at her workshops.  Last year I started off the year going to seminars, setting goals and putting myself out there. It fizzled at the end, but I gained some momentum…and I’m convinced that that momentum will continue.

As one of my  hippy dippy friends said, “Put it out to the universe.”  She was right. Put it out there. Let the world know you are open to opportunity, and it will find you.

 

Advent · Advice for Women · Andshelaughs · andshelaughs writing · Art of LIving · Career · Christmas · Creative Life · Creative Writing · Creativity · Fearless Living · Friendship · Graceful Living · Gracious Living · Healthy Living · Hope · Inspiration · Joyful Living · Life · Life Lessons · Lifestyle · Living · Meaning of Life · Midlife · Mindful Living · Motivation · Professional Women · Relationships · Religion and Spirituality · Simple Living · Spiritual Living · Spirituality · The Art of Living · Uncategorized · Whole Living · women · Women's Issues · Wonder · Working Women · Writing Inspiration

Connection: Wonder in the Darkness

candle in snowIt’s that feeling when you receive an email from the person you’re thinking of at the same time as you press send on your email to them.

Synchronicity takes faith. It’s that feeling of floating above it all where everything and everyone just clicks.  My life is abundant with that…mostly.

We’re coming to the end of another year. January 1st can be a pretty important mental reset date.  Goal setting, resolutions and check-lists for the year ahead.

This year I set some pretty great goals. I met most of them. What I learned this year was way more important than checking off a list though. I learned what traps my energy and keeps me from feeling that satisfying peace of synchronicity. Now that I’ve identified it, I can do something about it.

That’s power my friends. That’s joy-brimming, creative-muscle-flexing power! It makes me giddy, and hopeful, and snuffs out the candle of despair which so easily ignites when we totter off balance.

I always save vacation time for the Christmas season. I enjoy the nesting of this holiday; baking, cooking, gift making, cocoa-sipping, movie watching, cocktails with friends, and making time for the coffee dates we put off all year long.

I also really dig Advent. I fully subscribe to the mystery of Advent, the idea of light in the darkness, and rebirth via struggle. But not too much struggle. Not struggle for struggle’s sake. I don’t dig unnecessary suffering, even as an artist.

Synonyms for ADVENT ˈæd vɛnt
  • advent, coming(noun) arrival that has been awaited (especially of something momentous) …

  • Advent(noun) the season including the four Sundays preceding Christmas. …

This holiday season, weather you celebrate Christmas or not, the darkest days of the year lend themselves to introspection, to wonder, to being open to new, yet-to-be-revealed opportunities. I hope that during this time you take the solitude you need to rest, reflect and connect.

cocoa with friends

It is through connection that I hope to reign in the things that deplete my energy.  It is through connection that I hope to ignite what brings me vitality. It is through connection that I hope to contribute to the world around me through my relationships, profession and creative pursuits.

I urge you to reflect on any feeling that tugs away at your soul and needs attention. And then connect with people whose presence alone will help heal those attention seeking areas of your life.  I hope that you connect with people who help you feel joyful, powerful and positive.

 

 

Uncategorized

Christmas in New York: Part 3

Everyone knows about the Tree at Rockafeller Center, and everyone should see it.  Ditto for all of the store windows on Fifth Avenue. You’re going to hear about the best cocktail in town too…the Fever Tree Porch at Bryant Park.

Trying to squeeze my way back on to the street, away from the crowds at Bryant Park, I heard a little voice say, “Mom, can I have a Rolex?” It was at once hilarious ( no kid, you cannot have a Rolex, but here’s a free candy cane), and heartbreaking.

As an adult, I’ve come to love the spirit of Christmas; the gathering with friends and family. The beauty of decorations, and care put into them. I love taking time to pause and to donate to my regular charities. It’s easy to forget that for a lot of adults they never lose the I-want spoiled consumerism that goes hand in hand with the season.  The mystery of advent is lost on so many.

It’s easy to understand how the beautiful gift of hope; light in the darkness goes hand in hand with the human condition of suffering. The crowds on Canal street bent over sorting through knock off bags ceremoniously laid out on garbage bags, and bargaining in all of the souvenir stores for the same scarves, costume jewelry is the underbelly of all of the sparkle. Go for a look but don’t mark it as part of your Christmas in New York City. Mark it as a way to remind yourself of how fortunate you are, and that really, very few of us have true need at Christmas.  Let Canal street and the packed shops remind you to give this Christmas season.

Once you’ve reminded yourself how fortunate you are, how badly the planet needs you not to consume, get on with enjoying the spirit of the sparkle.

Speaking of sparkle, the Saks light display was a complete surprise. I mean, was my head under a rock when I planned our Chritsmas in New York Extravaganza? It wasn’t on the books.  And that’s one of the reasons why I would absolutely recommend Free Tours by Foot.   Our tour guide was John, and he was five stars. Although the tour cost a mere $3.00 (which was actually donation to a toy drive), prepare to leave a big, fat tip at the end of the tour because you’re going to be that impressed.

 

Bryant Park Winter Village is just what it is – a Christmas market. If you’re into hand-crafted unique gifts, it’s a great place to shop. Keep in mind you’ll be on the equivalent of a conveyer belt of people, jostling just to take a step.

What I loved most about the park was that you could skate for free (if you brought your own skates), and they squeezed the Fever Tree Porch into the corner of 40th Street and Avenue of the Americas/6th Ave. It’s a little respite in the middle of the NYC madness. It took less than ten minutes to be seated (table for five), and the atmosphere was cozy. Picture a fully stocked bar with two warm bonfires out front for the standing room only folks, and outdoor heaters for those of us who needed a minute off our feet and a seat at a table. I recommend the Hot Penicillin (cider with whiskey, lemon and honey), and the chili. Scroll down and I’ll give you the recipe.

Oh, plan your bathroom route too. Most places have at least a 30 minute wait for the toilets. Stay hydrated and cocktail wisely my friends.

Map everything in advance. It doesn’t take a genius to map the grid system in uptown, but it takes a little more Lewis-and-Clarking to get around old downtown. The subway in New York was designed for you to desire to get quickly from A to B. The NYC Subway app comes in handy for delays and closures. In the summer if it’s the sweltering heat underground that makes you want o surface, at Christmas time, it’s surely the juried musicians. They’re the worst gawd-awful musicians I’ve ever heard. It’s like the musicians stole all of the grit of the Grinch at his grinchiest, and force it upon you like military orders.  Run.

Despite the terrible noise in the subway, New York City at Christmas time is beautiful. The compact layout all decked out in lights is beautiful. Everything twinkles and for the most part, everyone there (tourists) is in a good mood.

Central Park is always a highlight, and the little zoo is no exception with their outdoor exhibits during the holidays. It was a great Sunday morning start, and included a 4D Polar Express showing. Definitely worth checking out to make you feel like a kid again.

 

And speaking of feeling like a kid again, who really doesn’t enjoy a giant toy store filled with amazing hands-on displays? I hit FAO Schwarzin the evening. I was only the third person in line to get in. Just a little tip, the line up to get in is at the rear of the Christmas Tree at Rockafeller Center, and a great way to get close to the tree without the crowds…during the later evening anyway.

Yes I did play the giant piano, and scooted around the store like a giant kid until I was sweaty and tired, and ready to head out onto the street, whining that I needed a drink of water. What you need to do is make sure you have metro pass fully loaded to zip around the city.  What you’re also going to need is at least one pair of  really, really, really comfortable shoes. Cocktail stops are a must, and don’t plan on going anywhere for lunch or dinner without reservations.  In fact, the more popular spots require planning up to three months ahead of time. Do your restaurant research. I’m also a fan of ordering in after a looooooong day of touristing so I can eat all tucked in, freshly showered, and ready to snuggle in for a dreamy sleep.

Christmas has not always been a merry time for me. Like anyone else, I’ve experienced heartbreak, grief and loads of stress during the holidays. But not this year. And so I’m enjoying it without reserve. The pendulum of life keeps swinging, and we all take a turn at the ups and downs. If you are having an up and you love Christmas, I highly recommend New York as a destination. I took four days and wished I had a fifth to finish off my list of must-see’s-and-do’s.  Which is a blessing in disguise because now I must return again another year.

 

Andshelaughs · Christmas · Christmas Lists · Christmas Marketing · Holidays · New York City · New York City Travel · Things to Do in NYC Christmas · Travel · Travel Writing · Uncategorized

Christmas in New York: Part 2

img_5044

In Christmas Part 1, I gave you a brief summary of our itinerary and slagged the possibility of contracting something awful from the subway.

In this instalment of the wonderful Christmasy world of New York,  I’m going to talk about my experience at Rolf’s restaurant and Paddy Maquire’s Ale House.

First of all, let’s talk about Rolf’s. it’s as over-the-top as you imagine. I mean, take a look at this;

 

This was my first and last Christmas trip to Rolf’s. It was one of those destinations that leave you feeling glad you did it once, but a little deflated at the same time.  The mass of decorations in photos like I’m sharing with you here give the impression that the restaurant is big enough to accommodate crowds. It is not.  It’s a tiny little space like all of the other tiny little spaces in NYC.

When I made my reservation ( in September ), I was told that each person dining MUST order an entree, and that seatings were only for one hour. Considering each meal is big enough to serve at least two people, you can’t complain about the cost. Ridiculously large, isn’t really my style. If you go and don’t order the potato pancakes, what’s really the point? And the black forest cake. If you’re gonna do it, so it right, right?

No wine list offered, but $18.00 for a 5oz glass of house plonk, really is gouging. The heat generated from all of the guests crammed uncomfortably close under a zillion lights made the hour-long giant meal uncomfortable at best.

If you want to see Rolf’s, save yourself a load of cash, and line up first thing in the morning to get into the bar area for a drink. They seat you so tightly, that standing shoulder to shoulder while sipping an overpriced Christmas cocktail seems to be the best

choice to observe this NYC Christmas landmark.

Just down the street is Paddy Maguire’s Ale House.  I happened upon this gem while waiting for my table at Rolf’s.

img_5322-e1576349417584.png

I have to admit that I’m a pub girl. Irish blood runs in these veins, and there’s nothing like a good pour at an Irish pub to warm  you up from the inside out. Plus, there are always friendly regulars.

Drinks were reasonable, service was excellent, and the decorations were both bountiful and welcoming.

img_5049.jpgimg_5049.jpgimg_5057

 

If you ever find yourself lucky enough to be in the city during the holidays, Rolf’s and Paddy Maguire’s are both a must see.  Although I appreciate the effort, and commitment to wowing the Christmas crowd’s at Rolf’s, it definitely costs. It’s a one-time-visit versus a multi-visit-I-wish-I-lived-close-enought-to-be-a-regular at Paddy Maquire’s.

The rest of the NYC Christmas Extravaganza can be found here.

Christmas · Christmas Lists · International Travel · New York City · New York City Travel · Things to Do in NYC Christmas · Travel · Travel Advice · Travel Writers · Uncategorized

Christmas in New York: Part 1

Trish Taking Pic of Tree

That’s a picture of me taking a picture of ‘THE TREE’.  Photo credit to my friend Bobby who made his way from Queens for a visit in Bryant Park, and then hung in for a walking tour which pitched us down the heralding-angeled-chute of Rockafeller Centre toward the big tree.

My sweetie referred to the crowd gathered as a cult, and almost went into full drowning-panic mode trying to get the hell out of our North American Christmas mecca.

As I write this, I’m watching, “Extreme Christmas Trees”. My gifts are already wrapped, and I’m feeling full-on-merry.  I think that visiting New York City last week has a lot to do with it.

Our first stop was at Bryant Park to meet up with friends. It was also adjacent to the New York City Library where our evening tour of the famous store windows would start.   I ‘do‘ Christmas every year. Always have, always will.

The Macy’s windows this year brought tears to my eyes. On one side of the building, they told the story of Virginia O’Hanlon. I’m named after Virginia O’Hanlonwho wrote the famed response from the editor of the New York Sun that, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus”.  Be prepared for a story if you ask me why then, is my name not Virginia…it’s a long story that involves genetics predisposed to alcoholism and shenanigans.

The Sak’s light display was breathtaking, and the Bergdorf Windows were over-the-top.  We visited the plaza hotel, had a carriage ride through Central Park,and made it (unwittingly) in to the middle of the memorial of the 39th anniversary of John Lennon’s death in the Strawberry Fields at Central Park, across from the Dakota hotel. I tried to spot Yoko, but it ‘was dark,and everyone was bundled up.

We ate at Rolf’s, walked our asses off and got the requisite photos at Radio City Music Hall and in front of the giant, red balls in the Chase fountain.  We shopped on Canal street. It really is the giant, dirty heart of the consumer beast that has ruined our civilization…I managed to score a few bargains, and question my own ethics as a consumer.  I bought a knock-off, got my aura photographed and read (dead on by the way, and totally worth the thirty bucks. Magic Jewelry is truly a ‘hidden’ gem and a bastion of tranquility within the hustle and bustle of NYC).

Mulberry Street in Little Italy is a pocket of lights and merriment. Street vendors offer mouth-watering roasted nuts, fresh nougat, and cannoli. And by the time you make to all of these places, your immune system will be either fortified or completely destroyed by the subway system, and your feet will be wrecked.

But it’s all worth it.  At least once.

Let me tell you about Rolf’s.